Beauty: A Dream Vanity Area



If you could choose your favorite place to get ready in the morning or when you’re going out to a party or special event, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a vanity area? Yes, I know for many women (and some men) this seems like a dream.

I would adore haveing a dressing table area where I could have all my makeup and hair tools, have everything organized well, and have my vanity area designed exactly the way I would like it to be designed to my unique preferences.

While modern vanity tables for women and shaving tables for men developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, beauty items such as cosmetic boxes, ointment jars, and perfume jars, were found in 1910, in “inlaid cedar cosmetic box[s]” in the tombs of Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh. 

Madam Pompadour of France, however, was one of the first women of the aristocracy to perform elaborate grooming rituals. The french aristocracy had boxes called Neccessaires’ which held perfumes, combs, nail files, and tiny scissors. Madam Pompadour (mistress of King  Louis XIV (1638 to 1715)) aided the French king in developing the ‘toilette’ or beauty regime for both men and women in the royal court. 

One fantastic example of an early vanity table was used by Marie Antoinette who had a dressing table specifically made to fit makeup items, writing implements, and a mirror. The piece was commissioned as she was due to give birth to her son and the vanity served multiple purposes also being used for eating and receiving visitors.

In the twentieth century, the vanity table developed significantly in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Glamorous Hollywood films made popular skyscrapers with luxurious penthouses and “femme fatale [movie] heroines.”

These starlets sat elegantly at their dressing tables which were streamlined in form compared to vanity tables of the past. Many women wanted to emulate these actresses and the vanity table became an essential piece of furniture for the modern woman.


Considering my dream vanity and how I would design it and the area around my vanity,  I realized there are many vital factors to consider. What I ended up with was a mood board of decor items I would adore in a vanity area. You can find my mood board at the beginning of this post.

There are many aspects I considered when I thought about designing a vanity area. The first being what style of vanity (the dressing table) I wanted. There is such a variety of styles of vanities to choose from but many are actually writing desks used as vanity tables, not the actual vanities which for instance, my great-grandmother Ida owned.

I tend to love antique vanities which have been repurposed. There is something curvilinear, ornate, and luxurious about the carving and details in the design of some antique vanities. What I love about repurposing old furniture, is that much of it is made from quality hardwoods, not cheap soft wood. Much furniture today is made of wood which easily breaks or splits.

Also, I would choose to paint my repurposed (or designed to appear antique) vanity my favorite color of light-blue. I would make it a feature piece of furniture in my bedroom and would paint the walls a neutral beige or gray with the same warm or cool hue found in the color blue used on the vanity. Below are three examples of vanities which caught my eye would be similar to my dream dressing table. I wouldn’t want such a roughed up quality to the paint but a nice sheen or solid color.


 

Credit: Home Decorating Trends – Homedit -www.pinterest.com

 

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Credit: http://www.createinspireme.blogspot.com

 

Credit: http://www.danisvintagedesign.com

Another choice for my dream vanity would be to paint it with a pearlescent paint in a light sheen of bronze, gold, or silver. These dressing tables are more glamorous than the blue ones but would also retain a unique but more modern design such as the opulent vanities of the 1930’s.

A significant reason I chose antique vanities versus modern streamlined ones, has to do with my personal aesthetics and especially, drawer space. I think a vanity should have significant drawer space for you to put your makeup, hair tools, lingerie, or whatever else you would like to store in your drawers. My favorite vanities have both slimmer drawers up top and larger deeper drawers on the sides. Storage is a major issue when choosing a vanity for yourself.


 

Credit: http://www.facebook.com via http://www.pinterest.com

 

Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

 

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Credit: http://www.missmustardseed.com

Many of the vanities pictured above have attached mirrors. I would be happy to have one of these mirrors refinished, but I also felt you could remove the mirror and hang a mirror with an interesting frame on the wall, behind your vanity. The mirror might be a little farther away from where you would sit, on the wall, but I don’t think this would be a problem if a person had enough natural and artificial lighting in their vanity area.


 

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Credit: http://www.restorationhardware.com

Credit: http://www.arhaus.com

 

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Credit: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca

Another important detail to consider is the chair you sit on in front of your vanity. Whether you purchase a vanity that’s antique which you refinish yourself, or you find you like already refinished, you can replace what is often a small stool or bench, with a fancy and comfortable chair.

Especially if it’s for a special occasion, I prefer to have back support, personally, and be comfortable while I’m doing my makeup and hair. I want a cozy place to sit and a chair with a cushioned back and seat. Here are a few examples of chairs I like below, the gray one is my favorite chair; however, you can also find yourself a fancy dining chair, or some other kind of comfortable chair which matches your vanity and decor scheme.


 

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Credit:  Unknown – Google Search

 

Credit: Source Unknown -Google Search

 

Credit: http://www.potterybarn.com

Another aspect I would consider for a vanity area, if you have space, would be a soft but stylish chaise lounge near your dressing table. I would include this in a dream vanity area because a chaise lounge or sofa, would make you feel more at home and enjoy being in this space, even when you’re not preparing yourself for the day or an event.

A chaise lounge or a couch could be somewhere your significant other sits and talks to you while you’re getting ready, or your kids. It would also be a comfy and plush hideaway to read a book when you have the time, especially if you have a space with excellent natural light or a floor lamp nearby, as I would in my dream vanity area.

As well, it makes sense to have a plush chair of some kind here because a vanity area would be close to my closet as well, so I’d probably need something to throw clothes on as I try on several outfits or change out of my work clothes after arriving home.It’s also a place to sit on while you put on your shoes and zip up your tall boots.


 

Credit: http://www.decor-zone.net

 

Credit: http://www.neimanmarcus.com

I talked briefly about lighting but it’s one of the most significant aspects of all to consider, not only for aesthetics but because women require fantastic lighting when putting on makeup and doing their hair.

There is no substitute for natural light and in my dream vanity area, I would have many windows nearby. You never want to walk outside and see you’ve put on your makeup too thick for daytime or used the wrong color of foundation for the season so your foundation ends up appearing orange in the daylight.

In addition, having a chandelier or some kind of pendant light above your dressing table makes it the area appear more opulent as well as making it easier for a woman to see what she is doing at her vanity. A small chandelier, for me, makes the area all the more appealing. It aids in creating a space where would enjoy spending more time and I would probably be spending a lot of time there, so I want a beautiful light fixture.

I had trouble choosing between three different light fixtures. On the Restoration Hardware website, I found this lovely light made of “tiers of translucent white capiz shells” and I love the movement created when light shimmers through these iridescent shells.


 

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Credit: http://www.restorationhardware.com

Another especially favorite pendant light of mine is the flower pendant light from Arhaus. This light is gorgeous, unique, and sculptural. I think the “Italian glass” crystals hanging down would be perfect for a vanity area. This light fixture is superbly classy with this flower having “dark silver clay finish;” the artist in me adores it.

Lastly, I was drawn to another indoor/outdoor chandelier made from recycled glass and wrought iron from Pottery Barn. The glass circles made me think of bubbles and/or a pair of pretty dangling, bronze and glass earrings. I think for me interior design and fashion often overlap.


 

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Credit: http://www.arhaus.com

 

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Credit: http://www.potterybarn.com

A third issue to consider with lighting is actual lighting where you sit at your vanity, on top your table. Here is the place where you or I would apply our makeup or remove it, perhaps along with our jewelry. I’m not a fan of those big bulbs that go around vanity mirrors, to me they’re a bit tacky (my opinion).

I think I would browse for some trendy table lamps which went with my decor scheme and weren’t too large. My thoughts are that they would appear classier and provide more natural lighting as you can put light bulbs in lamps with more of a warm glowOne lamp might be enough, or you might prefer two, depending on how much space you have. There are a couple of different ones I liked and you can see them below. They’re both from Arhaus,  here and here.


 

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Credit: http://www.arhaus.com

 

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Credit: http://www.arhaus.com

One final issue to consider with lighting and mirrors, is a having a magnifying mirror. Yep, the kind where you feel scared when you can see every mark or wrinkle on our face. While I hate that aspect of these mirrors, they can be helpful. They’re especially great when you’re plucking your eyebrows, getting rid of a few stray hairs, or when you’re trying to apply liquid eyeliner or any eyeliner for that matter.

I would buy one of these magnifying mirrors which lights up. It could sit on my dressing table top or be attached to the wall behind my vanity. I prefer one not on the top of the vanity since I need the space for other items.

Certain mirrors with LED lights can be moved closer or a farther away, whichever way you need. There are also various degrees of magnification. You can check out this magnifying mirror below, from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Lastly, ensuring my vanity area is near plugins where I could easily plug in a power bar with more plugins for curling irons, a blow dryer, and my table lamps would be a must for my vanity area.


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5X Magnifying Mirror with LED Light(www.bedbathandbeyond.ca)

Now to tackle one the largest issues in my vanity area, having the best kind of storage for makeup, makeup brushes, hair devices, and any other products I store in and around my dressing table. A wonderful place for these organizational items is Bed, Bath, and Beyond because they have a ton of well-priced organizational items, many of which are also attractive for certain decor schemesHome Sense is another excellent place for this.

A third place you might consider buying storage for on top of your vanity is an office supply store, as many of their lines for storing stationary work well for storing makeup and skincare products. You can also use decorated or lovely colored trays and special storage from any home store, these products are easy enough to find.

Hanging a few decorative shelves nearby to house some of your personal items, is also an option I would consider for my vanity area, along with this neat holder I found on Pinterest, which is specifically designed to hold your blower dryer, hair straightener, and curling irons and can be found at Home Depot and mounted on the wall. For specifically made to hold makeup organizers on top of your vanity, Amazon is an excellent place to search for these holders at a great price.


 

Credit: http://www.homedepot.ca

 

Credit: Unknown – http://www.pinterest.com

 

http://www.bedbathbeyond.ca

 

Credit: http://www.overstock.com

 

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Instagram – http://www.pinterest.com

For makeup brushes my favorite storage solution is to find a pretty container, it could be a pencil holder a candle holder (whatever fits your brushes) or a couple of each, and fill them half-full with little rocks/beads or a similar vase filler. Stand your brush handles in these containers along with your mascara and eyeliners. Your brushes and makeup products will stay upright and it works superbly well.  I would use the same method on my dream vanity table; however, any pretty container which stores your brushes upright along with eyeliners and mascara, works well as long as they suit your design scheme.


 

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http://www.stylecaster.com

 

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http://www.totalbeauty.com

For makeup, you can also find some beautiful trays to put your makeup and skincare products on. Sometimes even trays with divided off sections, so it makes it easier to store certain items such as blush or lipstick. I prefer stylish storage for on top of your vanity, such as silver or gold trays, decorated or colored candle holders, and mirrored makeup supply/brush holders. Below are some photographs of these ideas I liked for my own vanity space.

It’s also helpful to find some see-through jars or containers to hold items such as Q-tips and cotton rounds, used for toner and taking off makeup (etc). For haircare products, a shelf that can fit hairspray, mousse, dry shampoo, and other taller hair products is useful with a shelf on top which leaves you with storage for smaller bottles of hair care products. 


 

Credit: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.ca

Credit: http://www.bathbedandbeyond.ca

 

Credit: http://www.bouclair.com

 

Credit: http://www.bouclair.com

 

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Credit: http://www.bathbedandbeyond.ca

 

Credit: http://www.hautandhealthyliving.com

The last and hardest part of storage is finding containers which will fit in shallow top drawers and in deeper side drawers for a dream dressing table. Since I would like my vanity area to not look so cluttered, I would like it if most of my makeup could be organized in the top drawers at least.

It is possible to purchase makeup dividers which fit inside draws or find your own little baskets or boxes, which will fit different kinds of makeup. Makeup storage also depends on how much makeup you own and should still be keepingAmazon is an affordable and easy place to find this type of storage.

Makeup storage also depends on if you want to store your makeup visibly on the wall or hidden (such as I do) in the drawers of your vanity. I prefer drawers, they appear so much neater than makeup storage in wall-mounted containers or on a magnetic board.  I can close messy drawers if they need cleaning and if my makeup has dirty cases. 

I believe in keeping a vanity top clean and clutter free as possible because it makes it easier for me to find what I need each morning before working or if I was Mom, for instance, before dealing with my children.

For me, I would only keep the makeup I use the most out and put everything else away. I would like the top to be clutter free so I have space to work and to display some of my prettier pieces of jewelry and perhaps perfume.


 

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Credit: Instagram – http://www.pinterest.com


 

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Credit: Instagram – http://www.pinterest.com

 

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Credit: http://www.walmart.com

It would also like to personalize my vanity space with authentic artwork to my taste, which matches my decor in my vanity area. I have chosen some of my favorite watercolor paintings off of Etsy which work into the blue vanity scheme and have this Chanel, posh and classy feel about them.  Also, I like how this spice wrack became the perfect place to store perfume and display bracelets.


 

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Credit: Mandibelle16 – Amanda Eifert

 

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Credit: TiffanyUssery – http://www.etsy.com

 

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Credit: theArtForYou – http://www.etsy.com

 

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Credit: LA Scandal – http://www.etsy.com

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Credit: Maria Ahrens – http://www.etsy.com

 

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Credit: Cheri Miller Art – http://www.etsy.com

I enjoy purchasing my artwork prints on Etsy because the prints you buy are less expensive and they are from local artists and small businesses. The prints are more unique than art you would find in most home decor stores. I would order the prints I’ve chosen off of Etsy and then visit Winners/Home Sense or the Craft store to find frames to put my art in.

I could choose to search for frames which are all the same style of frame or look for frames which are the same color. I believe what I would do is mix up frame colors and styles, have frames in black, gold, and silver, as long as they fit in with the vanity area them I’ve created and its ambiance.

For me, this would be my perfect dream vanity area; however, as you can tell, it’s difficult to choose precisely what pieces fit and what pieces don’t. Thanks for reading!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

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Tale Weaver Fairy Tales: Berjlot the Wolf #fairytales #fiction #taleweaver


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this month’s fairy Tale prompt. The prompt is: “imagine an evil force be it witch or some other dark force has cast a spell on you. What form does the spell take, are you frozen in time as in the above image? Are you cursed in a different way?”


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Michael – Tale Weavers Fairy Tale

http://www.photobucket.com
Berjlot was a pretty girl with her father’s white-blond hair and her mother’s curls. She also had her mother’s mysterious green-eyes and delighted the entire viking village with her presence.

Asta, Berljot’s mother, had been in labour for hours the night Berjlot was born. The baby wouldn’t come out so Astab finally told her husband Bjarke that he must allow the midwife to cut her belly open and save their babe.

Bjarke felt great pain in his heart when his wife asked him to do allow the midwife to cut the baby out. But he knew he could not lose both Asta and the baby and survive himself.

Cutting the baby out (a much worse version of a c-section) was newer concept which the village midwife had suggested hesitantly. There wasn’t anything to help Asta from the pain but some whiskey. She drank all she could and screamed in pain as her baby Berjlot was born.

Asta named her child Berjlot or “Light will save,” and soft light was exactly what Asta saw as she entered Valhalla. She bled out before the midwife could attempt to stitch her up. Chances were Asta would have died from infection anyways. 

Bjarke held his little girl Berjlot proudly. She was his and Asta’s last child, her four-older brother’s were nearly men. But the baby girl was a light to her father and helped him survive the loss of his wife Asta (“divine beauty”).


Bjarke whose name meant “bear” was indeed, built like a bear and so were his four sons. They helped their father fell logs. Bjarke was now considered an older man and he would need the help of his son’s to survive. 

He had a been a great ship builder but was now arthritic and in pain. He spent most of his time keeping his eye on little Berjlot who spent her days enchanting those around her, a light to the entire community. 

Some of the other women taught Berjlot the necessities of life as a viking woman. Berljot seemed to easily learn how to sew and cooked delicious meals. She also helped with the shearing of sheep and weaving clothe. 

Berjlot’s mother Asta, had also been an accomplished artisan so Berjlot learned the craft of jewelry making from an old women in the village named Ragna (“giving advice”).

As well as crafting fine jewelry, Ragna was a medicine women and a pagan witch. Most people were afraid to be near her but Berjlot had no choice as she was the only other women who knew her mother Asta’s craft of jewelry making.

She was a talented girl and Ragna, seeing her youth, beauty, and the skill with which Berjlot seemed to accomplish every task, became seethingly jealous of the girl. Even at her young age and artisan skill level, Berljot’s jewelry was sought after. 

She was only ten-summers but Ragna was envious of the girl she knew would grow up to be a beautiful woman and likely out rank her being from a powerful family. 

The witch had always despised the girl’s mother Asta for her goddess-like beauty and her gift of creating beautiful jewelry of better quality than Ragna’s designs. 

One day when Berjlot had a cough, Ragna,  playing the kindly old woman she always played around Berjlot said to her:

“Poor dear, I will make you a potion which will rid of you of your awful cough. We can’t have it get into your lungs. Bjarke would be devastated if he lost his only daughter.”

Berjlot accepted the purplish potion Ragna wanted her to drink. It smelled awful and smoke whirled from the earthen cup but the girl drank the potion trusting Ragna as her Oma. 

Suddenly, Berjlot hiccuped. She felt a strange sensation as her body changed from that of girl into a stunning light-haired wolf. She knew her father and brothers would never recognize her in this form and so did Ragna.

Berjlot cried the tears of a wolf and old Ragna laughed at her. She made it appear as if a  wolf had eaten Berjlot.

“Bjarke,” Ragna cried. “A light-haired wolf ate your daughter. See? I have her bloodied and torn dress here. There was nothing I could do.” Ragna wept and made it appear as if she was broken-hearted at losing Berjlot.

Bjarke was devastated. Berjlot was the light of his life and his health failed rapidly after losing his daughter. He was soon set out down the nearby river in his funeral pier set aflame to join his wife Asta. 

Bjarke’s oldest son Dag took over the boat building business with his three brothers and his best friend Asmund (“Divine Protection”). After they had spent time in mourning for their father they and the other men from their settlement,  went into the woods and destroyed all the wolves they could find –even the pups. They never forgot about their little sister Berjlot who had brought such joy wherever she went.


Eight-years passed.  Dag, his three brothers, and Asmund were prosperous men in their viking community building ships and amassing a great amount of land and wealth. Asmund, in particular, was considered a fine catch for marriage but had not found a wife to his liking; Dag and his brothers had already married well.

Asmund was out walking in the forest one night when he saw the most striking female wolf beneath a tree in the moonlight. She had mossy green-eyes which were extremely unusual for a wild animal such as a wolf.

He was surprised when the wolf jumped on him when he wasn’t paying attention. He was set to bring his small ax down on the wolf when she lay down on top of him gently and peered at him with sad eyes. She talked as wolves did, pawing at him, trying to get Asmund to understand something through her barks. He laughed and petted the beautiful wolf as she slept on him. 

The next morning Asmund awoke and the wolf was gone. He thought he’d only dreamed of her. When he went for a walk in the forest several nights later, he again saw the same beautiful wolf.

She playfully tackled him to the ground and barked at him, trying to make him understand her wolf song. When that failed, she lay her head beneath his chin, and slept on top of him as before.

The light-haired and green-eyed wolf barked and slept with Asmund every night he came out into the woods, always burying her nose under his chin.

One night, Ragna the old witch noticed Asmund asleep with the wolf she knew was Berjlot, snuggled half on top of him. The witch plotted to kill Berjlot once and for all and told Berjlot’s oldest brother Dag about the strange looking wolf she’d seen around the forest. 

Dag and his younger brothers went to find and kill Berjlot the following night with Asmund. But when they found the wolf with the light-fur and moss green- eyes,  Asmund begged them not to kill her.

He told Dag the light-haired wolf had become his pet and was docile. Berjlot approached her brother Dag and bowed, she did any trick her brother or his bestfriend Asmund told her to do.

When wicked Ragna saw the brothers had not killed Berjlot in wolf form (and instead, were going to adopt her as a kind of pet) she ran out to kill Berjlot with her sharpest knife. Ragna poisoned the tip of the knife so even if it nicked Berjlot the wolf, it would kill her.

Dag, his three brothers, and Asmund were shocked to see the old witch after the wolf they had befriended. They caught and disarmed Ragna before she harmed the wolf. When Ragna was disarmed she turned to run back to her cottage but Berjlot jumped on her, tearing out the witches throat.

 Immediately,  the light-haired green-eyed wolf turned into a young woman of about eighteen. She was beautiful with her long wavy-blond hair, exotic green eyes, and white skin. Dag’s three younger brothers immediately recognized their sister from her moss green-eyes.

 “Berjlot is that you?” They asked, overjoyed to see their sister alive.

“Yes it’s me,”Berjlot said crying. She hugged her brothers, including Dag. They were a bit sensitive about her being naked with Asmund around. He generously gave Berjlot his cloak to cover herself with. 

“The witch Ragna pretended to be my Oma,” she told the men gathered. “Ragna was jealous that I was prettier than her, and that our mother Asta was prettier than her too. She hated that I did all my tasks well, especially jewelry making. When I had a cough, she gave me a steaming purple potion. I trusted her and drank the potion and she turned me into a wolf.” 

“That’s terrible,” Dag shouted, angry for his sister. “Your death is the reason our father became ill and died. I’m sure the gods are pleased you ripped out the witch’s throat.”

Berjlot sobbed upon hearing about her father’s death. When Asmund comforted her with a hand on her shoulder, she looked up at him with adoration in her eyes.

“I was almost killed when the men from the village wiped out all the wolves but somehow I thrived, even as a wolf. I thought I would always be a wolf until I saw Asmund one night.” Berjlot blushed when she said Asmund’s name.

“Each night Asmund came out to the forest, I pounced on him and tried to tell him what happened to me, but my words only came out as barks or noises as a dog would make. But he kept coming back almost every night and I slept with my nose snuggled beneath his chin.”

“Is this true?” Dag asked his best friend whose face reddened when he gazed at Berjlot in his cloak.

“Yes, it’s true,” Asmund admitted. “I fell for Berjlot. Somehow the gods made me see how noble and beautiful she was even as a wolf. She’s an even more beautiful woman then she was a wolf.” 

“I would be honored if you would allow your best friend and partner in business, to be a husband to your beloved sister,” Asmund asked. To him Berjlot was a light he could not live without in his life. He loved her as a wolf and more so as a woman. 

Dag and his brother’s huddled together talking while Berjlot stared anxiously at Asmund. She came up to him and snuggled her head beneath his chin, showing her affection and gaining Asmund’s comfort. 

“At last, I get to see you in my human form,” Berjlot told Asmund. Both lovers were overcome and wanted to do much more than stand not touching but for Berjlot’s hair cushioning Asmund’s chin.

Dag and his three other brother’s broke from their meeting with happiness. They agreed Asmund would be the perfect husband for their sister because he loved her and watched out for her, even when she was only a beautiful wolf. Thus, they set the betrothal date to that moment and day.

Asmund offered up sheep for wool and jewels as a dowry for Berjlot and they married in a magnificent ceremony in the village. The gods had allowed Berjlot to return from the dead and for two powerful families to be joined in marriage with days of feasting and celebration for the whole community.

Both Asmund and Berjlot lived happily ever after (as best as you could in that time and place). 


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Story Comtinuation Prompt: Fiction – Remembering Helen


Thank you to Wandering Soul who hosts this prompt challenge each week. You can complete the prompt sentence by writing up to two-additional sentences in her comments section in the link above or you can link to her blog page. Also, if you choose to write a longer story from the prompt, link the story to her page as well.

Today’s prompt sentence is: “The old man stared at the droopy white lilies.”

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http://www.thelilygarden.com
  

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The old man stared at the droopy white lilies. Memories flooded back to him as he smelt the strong scent that lingered. He felt the edge of one of the petals, still baby soft but crisp and dry on the edges. Helen had always hated lilies; that was why he had them placed on her grave every Sunday.

You might think this a mean thing for an old man to do but Ernest (the old man) had had a complicated relationship with Helen. Though it might not appear so, he had adored her and thought she had always been a magnificent woman.

——

Ernest remembered the first time he had seen Helen in his senior year in high school. She had her abundant curly brown hair styled in a forties-bob. Her blue eyes sparkled when she saw him. He felt their two souls collide in that moment and Ernest knew their souls would always be connected.

Ernest and Helen dated until Ernest was twenty-three years-old. Helen hadn’t liked that they had dated five-years without getting married. In hindsight, Ernest realized he should’ve married Helen long before he did.

Helen became pregnant and the whole town turned against her. The women called her a hussy and advised Helen to marry Ernest immediately. His old man had took Ernest aside and told him that everything would be fine if he married Helen quickly and quietly.

But Helen was feisty and didn’t like being told what to do. She was hurt that her best girlfriends looked down on her and that the town’s people whispered and gossiped about her behind her back. It was then Helen changed her mind about marriage to Ernest.

One day Ernest and Helen were swinging on the porch swing at Helen’s parent’s house, Ernest trying his hardest to convince Helen marriage was an excellent choice since they both loved each other.The following day Helen and two suitcases full of her clothes and baby items she had been collecting, had disappeared.

Ernest searched for Helen. He wrote letters and searched various small towns. He went to big cities, remembering what Helen liked to do and where she would likely be found. He remembered the places she dreamed about visiting. Ernest also feared a young pregnant woman alone, wouldn’t find much friendliness from strangers. He was frightened for Helen and his unborn child.

——

Twenty-years later Helen appeared at Ernest’s house in Pittsburg. Ernest’s wife Lilian, was battling Cancer. To both their regret, Lilian and Ernest had never been able to have children. But behind Helen was an enchanting young woman whose green eyes he recognized as his own. 

The three of them sat outside and talked. Ernest had felt guilty about not seeing his wife at the hospital that day as afternoon turned to evening. His daughter’s name was Grace and to Ernest she was indeed a ‘grace.’ 

In the morning Helen was gone but Grace remained. His daughter stood by him, even when his wife Lilian passed away a week later. Despite the fact Grace had never known her father, she stayed with Ernest as he grieved and she began working in the woman’s section of a department store.

Grace told Ernest that her mother Helen detested Lilies and that was why she left. But Lilian’s favourite flower was of course a Lily; they covered Ernest’s home while Lilian lived. He was always greeted by their pungent fragrance when he came home from work. Ernest knew better the reason Helen hadn’t stayed: She didn’t want to make Ernest’s life difficult. Grace had chosen to stay with Ernest on her own.

——-

Twenty-years later, Ernest was a happy Grandfather of four teenage grandchildren. Grace had married a man in Pittsburg and lived close by his house. She visited Helen and spoke to her mother often, but clammed up whenever Ernest asked about Helen. 

One day, Ernest was home alone doing yard work and Helen appeared out of no where. It gave him such a shock that Ernest’s green eyes started to tear up not believing what he saw. Helen aged, but still magnificent, embraced Ernest and they both cried for the lost years they hadn’t been with each other. The love between them was still strong, even after forty-years mostly apart.

Helen remained with Ernest. The happy couple had a small wedding and Grace was delighted her parents were together at last. 

Ernest and Helen were driving to the airport for their honeymoon in Paris. Helen was complaining about the orange lily the florist had slipped in her bouquet. Ernest had thought Helen’s complaints funny. They both started laughing and Ernest in his bliss, missed the red light. He hadn’t seen the pick-up truck before it crushed his car where Helen sat, graceful in a white suit; she died instantly.

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Years passed and Ernest religiously had lilies deliveried to Helen’s grave each Sunday. He always thought about how much Helen hated lilies. But lilies made Ernest, the old man, remember his beloved Helen. So that even after Ernest’s own death, their darling daughter Grace, continued to have lilies deliveried to Ernest’s and Helen’s shared grave.

Grace wiped a tear away from her eye. Both her parents were sorely missed.

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